There is more to Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 than initially meets the eye.
The race, which is scheduled for 1 pm/et on TNT, takes place at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan — about one hour, 20 minutes west of Detroit. With the race so close to the Motor City, Ford and Chevrolet executives will be on hand to watch the action unfold.
The Hendrick Motorsports camp has been on an absolute tear as of late. Mr. H’s drivers have won the last four points races — Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Pocono, Jimmie Johnson at Dover and Charlotte and Jeff Gordon at Kansas.
Jamie McMurray also won the All-Star race five weeks ago with a Hendrick/Chevrolet engine under the hood.
The hot-streak for Team Chevy could very likely come to an end on Sunday however as M.I.S. Statistically, Michigan is Hendrick’s worst track as of late. Last year in this race, all four Hendrick Chevrolet’s finished outside the top 25, only the third time in the team’s history that has happened.
While Chevy has struggled on the two-mile oval as of late, the Ford shops are not.
Fords have captured each of the last three races at MIS, with Greg Biffle the defending race winner of the Quicken Loans 400 and the winner of the Pure Michigan 400 in 2012. Joey Logano won last year‘s second Michigan race from the pole. A feat that has been done at MIS 17 times in the tracks history.
Logano also set the track qualifying record here last August at 203.949 miles per hour.
Biffle and Logano are favorites to return to victory lane Sunday as well as fellow Ford wheelman Carl Edwards and Michigan native Brad Keselowski.
For Keselowski, this isn’t just another race.
“There seems to be a lot more commitments that weekend than any other weekend, and there’s always somebody who wants a ticket or a pass or you name it, which is — it’s good and bad at the same time,” said Keselowski. “You’re glad that people care, and on the other side, you’re like, ‘I’ve got to work here at some point.’ It’s fun for me personally, and it makes the success rewarding.”
Keselowski let one slip through his fingers last weekend at Pocono. I think he comes to Michigan looking for redemption and his first ever win on his home track. Look for Keselowski and Logano to both be very fast come Sunday.
I myself am also a Michigan native and love when NASCAR comes to MIS. With the manufactures looking to strut their stuff and no restrictor plates to hold back performance, drivers are often going well north of 200 miles per hour into the turns. The high speeds put a lot of stress on the equipment, particularly the engines. Reliability in that department is always critical but especially so at this track.
It’s no secret, the manufactures want to win in their own backyard, and bragging rights will be up for grabs in the Irish Hills come Sunday.